Cisco CIO Replaces Reviews with Focused Group Sessions

Kachina Shaw
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The Top Ten IT Skills for 2014

Here’s a concept to think about over the weekend: Cisco CIO and Senior Vice President Rebecca Jacoby has replaced the traditional annual review one-on-one meeting with what sounds kind of like – a regular meeting. It’s a simple but significant change to a process that vexes employees, managers and HR.

During the Cisco Connect Toronto conference, Jacoby touched on several ways in which she runs her IT group, according to a piece at IT World Canada, saying that she tends to communicate the themes on which she is focusing through these group sessions. IT folks gather in person or through teleconferencing or videoconferencing and make presentations on their work. Jacoby has the opportunity to ask questions and encourage her team to work collaboratively to solve problems for the business. She is “fairly direct” during these sessions, she says.

With an IT group at Cisco of a total of over 3,200 individuals, these group sessions provide Jacoby with an opportunity to interact with and observe many more folks than she would in annual, one-on-one reviews, which consistently are panned as offering little to no value to either managers or direct reports. The approach also allows IT professionals to hone and demonstrate their skills in planning and carrying out effective meetings – with the undivided attention of the big boss.



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